We must not be blindsided by Covid-19 and ignore the old risks, a WTM panel asserted
The same number of people who have died so far from Covid-19 globally die on the world’s roads every year.
This comparison was drawn by Lloyd Figgins, chairman of Travl Risk & Incident Prevention Group on a panel looking at how travel risk is changing in the Covid-19 era at WTM Virtual today (11 November), as he sought to prove that we must look at risk in context.
“If we then look at the infection rate, about 50 million currently. That is the exact same figure the WHO has put out about the number of people who are injured or disabled on the world’s roads every year,” he said.
“The old risks are not going anywhere.”
Teresa Arnone, HSE manager – risk advisory at Deloitte, agreed: “While all the focus is currently around Covid, amidst this we have had the security aspects re-emerging.”
Figgins suggested that the industry should begin taking a collaborative approach to risk.
“Not everyone knows everything. We need to look at what others are doing,” he said, giving an example of NGOs that have had to continue travelling throughout the pandemic.
The panel highlighted that travel companies are beginning to look at risk through a broader lens and leaders are keen to move forward, looking at risk more holistically.
Rhiannon Parker, chief operating officer of risk management solutions company Cristal Standards, said that many of the company’s clients were keen to ensure that the evolution of their risk management programmes keep pace with movements such as Black Lives Matter and MeToo.
“It’s time to do something tangible,” she said.
“Within the risk management sphere, what that looks like is an openness to acknowledge that we have viewed risk through a very one-dimensional lens.
“If we are just looking at it from one perspective we are missing a whole spectrum of things.”
One example was that if a travel company knows that cultural attitudes towards people’s sexuality or race or gender or any aspect of their individualism puts them at risk, that should be managed in the same way and with the same tools we have for managing risk as we always have.
She added it was encouraging to see clients actively expressing a desire to have those conversations and engineer that risk out of their operations.
Despite this renewed focus on looking at risk in a more diverse way, Parker said that the safety of female travellers was an area that required much improvement.
”Unfortunately 2019 was an unprecedented year for incidents affecting women and children both in destination and in hotels.
“It is one of the areas we need to do the most work in,” she said, giving examples such as upskilling individuals in hotels and destinations to respond to incidents and report them.